SOURCE: United Way of Miami-Dade

United Way of Miami-Dade

August 29, 2011 08:45 ET

United Way of Miami-Dade Launches Volunteer Reader Program to Encourage the Love of Reading Before Kindergarten

Early Literacy Helps Young Children Prepare for School and Life

MIAMI, FL--(Marketwire - Aug 29, 2011) - United Way of Miami-Dade is launching its Volunteer Reader Program to enhance literacy opportunities for young children and instill the love of reading in them, even before they can read for themselves. United Way will pilot this program beginning Sept. 1, when 45 volunteer readers will be matched with 39 pre-K classrooms in eight early learning centers throughout Miami-Dade for an hour of story time each week, influencing nearly 600 students.

As part of the program, United Way is offering a training session for the volunteer readers where they will learn about age-appropriate books, tips for reading to young children and receive a reader toolkit. With lessons learned from this pilot, United Way hopes to grow the program in stages over the next few years.

"We all have a stake in making sure that today's children grow up to be productive citizens who give back to the community," Maria Mas Blet, managing director of KR Financial Services and member of United Way Women's Leadership Council, said. "A good education starts early and is the foundation for a child's success in work and life. Children cannot read to learn if they haven't learned to read!"

Research shows that children who learn to read well at an early age will not only read more independently, but also achieve more in math, social studies and science. They are also more likely to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. Investing in them pays off: the ROI includes higher graduation rates, better job skills, increased homeownership and less chance of criminal activities.

United Way of Miami-Dade joins a national United Way effort in support of First Lady Michelle Obama's Corporate Mentoring Challenge. This past spring, United Way Worldwide pledged to work with local United Ways to recruit one million new readers, tutors and/or mentors over the next three years.

United Way encourages all adults to read to young children and encourage a lifetime love for learning. To learn more about the Volunteer Reader Program or for tips on how to read to children, please visit

About United Way of Miami-Dade

United Way is working to advance the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. We are focused on improving education, income and health -- the building blocks for a good life. Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place. We invest in quality programs, advocate for better policies, engage people in the community and generate resources. For more information, visit or join us at or

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